By Sandra Kraisirideja
Joss Whedon understands the importance of a well-crafted story and his exceptional ability to combine heart, humor and action is proven once again with Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Returning again as writer-director of the blockbuster franchise, which lies at the center of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Whedon keeps the relationships between Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye as the centerpiece of the movie and while also ramping up the action sequences.
Returning to their roles as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha/ Black Widow, and Jeremy Renner as Clint/Hawkeye.
Also returning in supporting roles are Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Don Cheadle as Lt. Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes/Iron Patriot, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Joining the cast members for the first time are Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, Paul Bettany as The Vision, and James Spader as the voice of Ultron.
Spader is an especially welcome presence in the movie. As the voice of Ultron, Spader gives a playful performance that fits the tone of the movie. The interactions between the actors feels relaxed and familiar, reflecting how close the Avengers have grown together since saving the world.
Whedon assembled a smart creative team and everyone does an exceptional job helping him realize his vision for Avengers: Age of Ultron. In particular, Oscar®-nominated visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend and special effects supervisor Paul Corbould skillfully created jaw-dropping visual effects and mind-blowing set pieces that don’t overwhelm the movie. Editors Jeffrey Ford and Lisa Lassek keep the action is fast and furious, with quick cuts and fast-paced editing, but it doesn’t feel like sensory overload.
When an action movie lacks a good story it doesn’t connect with an audience. I’ve been to movies where I can hardly remember what it was that I just saw. I feel like I’ve just sat through a series of flashing explosions. It’s hard to hang onto a movie when it only offers superficial entertainment.
This wasn’t the case with Avengers: Age of Ultron. It felt like the movie had more story than action. When there was dialogue it didn’t slow the movie down and when the big action sequences came it felt organic and a part of the story rather than being the main purpose.
This may sound strange, but the movie felt intimate and thoughtful. The action sequences are fantastic and are worth seeing in a real movie theater, but what makes the movie great were all the moments between.